Winter break brings a much-deserved period of relaxation to the La Salle University community.
However, it’s important to put your health and the health of others first. This means doing what you can to keep COVID-19, the flu, and other illnesses at bay.
“I’m pleased to do my part in trying to keep everybody else safe,” said R. Scott Cook, DO, FAOASM, the University’s assistant vice president of student wellness, director of the University’s Student Health Center and head team physician of La Salle Athletics.
Cook offered tips on how students, faculty, and staff can stay healthy during winter break, in order to return to campus safely.
Cook suggested receiving a COVID-19 booster shot if you’re eligible, along with a flu shot. Getting a COVID-19 test prior to leaving campus allows you to have a baseline, he said, emphasizing this step for those who are unvaccinated without excluding it for those who are fully vaccinated.
“It’s important to pay attention to how you’re feeling before you travel. Do something about it. Don’t wait and risk exposure,” he said.
This is even more important as the pandemic evolves. In late November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the World Health Organization’s classification of a new variant of concern, B.1.1.529, more commonly known as Omicron, which is believed to be more transmissible than previous variants.
Choose health and safety
While at home, Cook reminds the La Salle community to continue practicing the safety measures required on campus. This includes masking up in crowded and ill-ventilated spaces.
Travel during the holidays requires staying informed on the area before you go.
“Know what the COVID climate is wherever you’re going,” Cook said. “Do they have regulations that are different than those where you’re coming from? Some may be more relaxed. Some may be more conservative and may require more of you. Do your research.”
Practice personal wellness
Staying healthy includes practicing self-care.
This means mindful eating, proper hydration, a consistent sleep schedule, and downtime. The latter can be anything from a workout or meditation to curling up with a good book.
“We all define it a little bit differently, but really carving out that period for ourselves and trying to make that a priority can help us recharge, reconnect, and stay a lot healthier during the holidays,” he added.
Returning to campus safely
When it’s time to return to campus, Scott encouraged Explorers everywhere to remember two words: get tested.
La Salle’s campus testing center will be available to all students, faculty, and staff in early January. For residential students, entry testing will be mandatory, Cook said.
Staying home and getting tested are two important steps to remember when you are not feeling well, Cook added. “The kind thing to do is to monitor your health and consider everybody else you will be around,” he said.
Plus, don’t forget to keep an extra mask and hand sanitizer handy.